Wednesday, 7 February 2007

My Picks for 2006 (3) - Doctor Who

Hullo. The third of my best of 2006 blogs focuses on an old favourite of mine that was re-generated with great success last year...

You are probably looking at this, after looking at my profile, and thinking yes he would say that this is one of the television shows of the year. You would be right. However it is still amazing what some money for believable special effects and a good script will do for a programme. One for whom the mauling it used to get from a sceptical public and derision it gained from within the BBC (mentioning no Michael Grade’s… ooops sorry, names) during the mid 1980s meant it’s axing in 1989 looked pretty near permanent.

It’s resurrection in 2004 has been miraculous, and a critical triumph. The casting of Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor in the 1st series back was the expected masterstroke (Eccleston having worked with Russell Davies before on The Second Coming). The question being asked at the end of the first series back was, especially after Eccleston’s departure was where next?

What came next was a new Doctor, in the shape of David Tennant, and some equally good scripts. Tooth and Claw, The Idiots Lantern & Fear Her were all episodes continuing the gothic horror aspect of the series. The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit was also very good, a sort of Alien meets Nosforatu, while School Reunion was a touching episode, with the Doctor meeting up with Sarah Jane Smith, a companion of his during his fourth incarnation.

The blockbuster episodes in the series had a different tone to them again. They all featured a return to the series of the
Cybermen. Rise of the Cybermen & The Age of Steel established the alternative universe version, doing what good sci-fi does and taking nagging doubts about technology, and stretches that fear, The Cybermen are, as described by their creator in these episodes John Lumic, as the final upgrade “Skin of steel and a body that will not age”. Army of Ghosts and Doomsday sees the Cybermen travel into this universe, following 4 survivors of the Time War, 4 Dalek survivors…
As I have said in a previous blog, the Daleks have never been so sarcastic. When an alliance between the Cybermen and the Daleks is suggested, the Cybermen discuss how well they are designed. The Dalek retort is “The only thing you are good for is dying”, followed by “This is not an invasion, this is pest control”. Ouch!

Tennant’s portrayal so far has been excellent, a bit more metro sexual, more new man than other incarnations. There is also humanity there, his apology to Sally, a downed Cyberman who (due to her inhibitor being broken) remembers that it is the night before her wedding before putting her to sleep, in The Age of Steel. Certainly a more than worthy successor to Eccleston.
The bar has been raised; let’s hope the third series back is as good.
This blog was originaly published on December 20th 2006

No comments: